Profile: Cave Caloz (Miège, Valais)

A recent visit to Miège was my first trip to the vineyards since the devastating frosts of late April. From all reports I expected worse but was still struck by the sheer randomness of it all. Spring began optimistically with an early bud break, courtesy of a lengthy and uncharacteristic warm spell, followed by an […]

The Hailstone Shield: Anathema to Organic and Biodynamic Vineyards?

Recently the Association National d’Etude et de Lutte contre les Fléaux Atmosphériques (ANELFA) announced the purchase and installation of 125 silver iodide generators in a no-holds-barred effort to thwart the occurrence of destructive hail storms in the vineyards of Burgundy. On the surface this would appear to be a wise investment but is there an ancillary cost?  At least one commentator thinks so. Wine-influencer Tom […]

Heritage Grapes: A Return to Diversity

The 20th century trend toward monoculture and industrial farming has touched nearly all aspects of the agrarian economy including viticulture and the wine industry. Fortunately, the citations and figures below may represent a high water mark as the forces for agro-biodiversity gain momentum and start to chip away at these startling numbers. Out of around […]

The Return of a Bad, Bad Bug

After a one year hiatus the dreaded Drosophila Suzukii, or spotted-wing drosophila, is set to make a big return to Swiss vineyards in 2016. Early reports from Swiss cherry orchards are not encouraging with levels of drosophila infestation at the end of June matching the August highs from 2014, a particularly bad year (Agroscope Newsletter: […]

Natural Wine Part 2: Whither go the Swiss?

In Natural Wine Part 1: What Is It?—published in this blog on January 5, 2016 (see Menu)— I explored the current understanding of the term “natural” wine and the confusing lack of defining standards. Even though consensus is elusive—and maybe that’s how it should be—there is one thing everyone agrees on: a “natural” wine is […]